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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.
Short Answer Questions
1. Who is the cult's victim in Hawa Mandir?
2. Who is Hardeman?
3. What false promise does Andahl make before parting ways with Volterra in Chapter 9?
4. In discussing the methodology of the cult in Chapter 9, what does Andahl insist the cultists are not?
5. Why is James Axton in Bombay at the beginning of Chapter 11?
Short Essay Questions
1. How does James seduce Janet Ruffing at the end of Chapter 9?
2. How is Chapter 14 connected thematically to the rest of the novel?
3. Where is Volterra in his planning for the cult film at the end of Chapter 8?
4. In Chapter 8, what does James see in Mani that shakes him up?
5. How did Del Nearing and Frank Volterra meet?
6. What offer does David Keller make James in Chapter 8, and how does James respond?
7. What information does Andahl give about the cult in Chapter 9?
8. What point about the murders does Andahl make in Chapter 9?
9. How does James follow up on his Mani discovery later in Chapter 8?
10. What traumatic experience happens to Orville Benton in Chapter 14?
Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:
Essay Topic 1
James Axton's relationships with women change dramatically over the course of The Names. In certain respects, he is paralyzed throughout with the narrative by his inability to connect emotionally with a woman. Write an essay about this transition in three parts:
Part 1) What is the state of James Axton's marriage to Kathryn at the beginning of the play? Why are the two of them separated? How does the living situation at the beginning of the novel seem prepared to break apart, and what series of events effectively ends their marriage?
Part 2) How does James's interaction with Janet Ruffing typify his relationship with the female gender after his marriage ends? What does this attitude toward sex do for his outlook? Is he more or less happy than when he was married? What is DeLillo saying about marriage in this regard?
Part 3) Discuss James's relationship with Ann Maitland. What do the two have in common? How do these similarities create a deeper connection that transcends James's general attitude toward women? Discuss how this relationship matures, and what this means.
Essay Topic 2
The world of The Names is one in which truth and facts are subjective. One can never be certain what is real and what is imagined. As such, there are a plethora of ambiguous characters in the novel. Write an essay about three such characters, discussing what they appear to be and what they are. How is the narrative affected by each of these characters? What deceptions do they perpetrate, and to what end? Is each characters' objectives identified by the end of the novel?
Part 1) Eliades
Part 2) Rowser
Part 3) Andahl
Essay Topic 3
Write an essay about the character of Frank Volterra. What is his connection to the Axtons, and how does he find himself in the search of the language cult? Discuss how DeLillo paints Volterra with a different brush that the other characters. Is he, in essence, a caricature of the temperamental auteur director? How does Del Nearing's attachment to Volterra humanize him to a certain point?
This section contains 1,159 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)